yet another disclaimer... the pics are all jumbled. The hard part was trying to find the ones I wanted in the 4000 I now have since we all shared ours.
This day was a glorious day! It was a warm, sunny Tuesday.
It dawned rainy, and Mark prayed that the rain would spare us on this day so that we might minister to the people of Gutumuhma, a tiny village outside of Bulbula. God provided.
The drive was about 2 1/2 hours outside of Adama. It was a gorgeous ride. We passed vineyards, a huge green house, horse drawn 'buses' and beautiful trees.
We arrived in Bulbula and as was the norm, Abebe got out his phone, made a call, someone showed up and jumped on the bus. Then we were off...after a quick look at a tire that seemed to be going down.
We drove back some pretty narrow 'roads' to a house, surrounded by a fence, beside a huge Acacia tree. It was glorious. It never ceases to amaze me that there is so much beauty surrounding so much poverty. Perhaps it's God gift to them?
We got off the bus and were immediately surrounded by the people of the village. About 20 - 30 adults and three times as many children. It was like something out of National Geographic. There were naked children, children with only shirts, no shoes, a woman nursing a twin at each breast... and mud huts. It was stunning.
We were asked to gather on a bench as honored guests. Mark said a little something, Abebe said a little something, pictures were taken and then we were presented with the best food the village had to offer. A barley and butter mold. It was brought in gorgeous, fly covered wicker containers. We all looked at each other, fully wanting to partake in the phenomenal gift we knew we were being offered...yet wondering which of us would be joining Brita lying on the bathroom floor that night. It was explained to them that we might get sick and that we were honored but were afraid to eat it. It was at that point that we all decided that it wasn't worth shaming them... so most of us took a bite. Tim took a huge one and turned to us to let us know not to take such a big one...it didn't taste badly, just VERY dry and it had sucked all the moisture out of his body. :o)
From there we started dividing the corn among bags to give to the families. A 50lb bag would feed a family for 2 months.
Next would come one of the best parts of the day. The baptism! We got to witness the baptism of 24 people in an area that is 90% Muslim! We all trekked down to Lake Langano, to watch the glory! The men stripped down to their undies...as did the ladies... we all clapped while they sang and rejoiced. Mark and Rick were able to do the honors with 2 of the local pastors. What a gift!
We went back to the village with renewed hearts and joy. What rejoicing must have happened in heaven that day! We were told it was a historic day because no other Ethiopian had been baptized in that river by an American.
Once we got back to the village we had the children sit so we could give them coloring books, crayons, t-shirts, markers...AND Tootsie pops! oh man... there was such joy and a bit of stomach turning as we watched the children devour the pops and then play in the dirt with their sticky fingers. :o) Kids will be kids huh?
One of the things that still strikes me about this day is one little girl. She and I made a connection almost from the moment I got off the bus. She's stunning. She's about 9 yrs old. I don't know her name but she followed me, giggled when I played with her, and over all just shined. When we left to go to the baptism she ran after the bus and tried to hold my hand. When we came back into the village she came to find me and wouldn't leave my side. It struck me at some point that she was the little girl in Tom Davis' "Scared", Adanna. She was about the same age, in the same setting...and I was the white woman that came to tell them about Jesus and give them candy. I didn't see her ever speak to someone who I would have said was her parent. Did she have anyone? I did see her hold a baby. Was she alone? There's a church being built here, surely she will have protection if she needs it? But then there was a church in Scared as well... there was 'protection' there as well.
She has haunted me since that day. I did not want to let goof her when we left. I am sure she thought I was crazy. We held eyes with each other until I could no longer see her....Lord protect her.
We did have a bit of a typical African incident on the way back through Bulbula. The bus broke. Right in the middle of a back street. So while Bilcho, our driver, got out to fix it with the help of all of our other men...lol I got out to talk to the crowd of children that always surrounded our bus when we stopped. I spoke to a young man that is in 10th grade. He spoke very good English. He asked me why we were there. I told him we were there to visit the village and to bring them food. He asked me about America. He asked me if Obama was our governor. :o) I told him he was the President. He told me his government was bad, that they do not give to the people that need it...he said the government in America is good. I told him that even in America there were problems with the government, but he could do what we were doing... each person help one other person and then each one would benefit. I told him I wished I could fix the government...I wished I knew how... but that only God knows how. He agreed, and then said to me "We are the same", pointing between the 2 of us, "We are the same". I agreed with him and said while touching my heart then his "We have the same heart".
This young man in 10th grade gets it...and touched me in more ways than I can explain.
Our day was capped by a rainbow...as the rains that we had asked God to hold on to... came sweeping across the land.
God's promise to us.
Here are God's people....